By Any Name, Users Want Training

There’s nothing like being a product manager. The job was invented long ago by Procter & Gamble, whose intention was to focus attention on individual businesses by bringing analytical insights into the running of a business. The insights become recommendations to the marketing manager and later to the vice president of marketing who decided how to invest marketing funds.

The product manager’s insights are based on many factors like field sales visits; budget meetings with the CFO; meetings with engineers and the factory regarding product problems and costs; and market research revealing how the company is faring on a whole range of business issues with dealers, integrators and users.

Supplier, User Opinions Contradict
You would think that what customers say about their suppliers and what suppliers say about their customers would match up well. But that’s not always the case. However, disagreement is not always bad because as long as one knows what needs correcting, he won’t continue to operate in the dark and disappoint his customers. That seems to be where the access control industry is now. Not everyone is on the same access page.

I asked all levels of the access control trade what the key sales motivators were and how they rate in importance. Since manufacturers and users are often far apart in market communications, you might expect some differences in their points of view.  There are some, but there are also areas of agreement. Let’s take a look at the differences because they matter most.

The one area that stands out is the user’s need for training. According to the numbers, users rate training programs at 3.8, but the manufacturer gives a rating of 2.9 (see table).  Surprisingly, 2.9 is the lowest of all sales motivator ratings, suggesting that manufacturers don’t think training programs are that important. Is the user challenge in upgrading and integrating systems on limited budgets a more daunting problem than manufacturers realize?

Users Say Name Not Important
Users then turn the table and say that the power of the manufacturer’s name is not as important as the manufacturer believes it is.  Bearing in mind there are many small access company brand names about which users know little, this is true on an industry-wide level.

The other two areas of difference are system compatibility, which users believe is more important, and easy installation, which users think is less important possibly since they have their dealers and integrators to handle the matter.

But in the end, there is more agreement than disagreement: Five of the nine sales motivators are right on target from each point of view.

Now, all the access product managers have to do is fix the other four.


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